When I was little, one of my absolute favorite games both in the arcade and at home was Gauntlet. Four people playing at once was just groundbreaking, and the four characters being utterly distinct was fascinating...and it meant a rush to be the goddamned elf so that you actually stood a chance of grabbing items and treasure before anyone else. The poor sucker who got stuck as the warrior got nothing except by the grace of his or her teammates.
Fast forward to the late 90s/early 00s for Gauntlet: Dark Legacy to continue the arcade chaos with full 3D graphics, vibrant character and monster designs, interesting expansions on the four original classes, and the buffest wizards outside of a Boris Vallejo painting.
Then the series...languished a bit with false starts and lackluster gritty reboots. The latest to try and tackle the button-mashing mayhem was Warner Bros. and I got to get my hands on the pre-alpha demo at E3. And you know, I think it's actually gonna be really good! I hope.
You still have the same four characters to choose from - warrior, valkyrie, wizard, and elf - but the distinctions come in more than just base stats. On top of the warrior being the heavy hitter and the wizard being the best with potions, the four characters control very differently. Here, take a look at the control schemes for them:
The warrior is for the button masher; the valkyrie is the defender with a short ranged attack; the elf is the sniper who can dodge around; but the wizard has the most interesting scheme. You press any two of the red, yellow, or blue buttons, and doing so crafts a spell that you cast in the direction you press with the right thumbstick. The spells range from freeze rays, to flame sprays, to lightning barriers and have different uses for different scenarios. I played as the wizard when I sat down for the demo and had a blast learning what combos did what and having to think of strategies on the fly.
Along the way you can collect reusable relics to further boost your abilities, such as boots that give you a major boost of speed or an ice amulet that freezes everyone in a radius around your character, teammates included.
The game is due out this September, so that should be enough time to sand off the rough edges and give it that final coat of polish. For its initial release it will be out on PC and Steam - and that includes support for Steam Machines - but it wouldn't surprise me to see it released more broadly if it rakes in some cash. For my part, it's one I'll plunk down some cash for...and maybe convince three friends to do the same as Steam is offering a 4-pack discount. Check out the videos below and see what you think.